|To: GUSTAVE JAEGER who wrote (3936)||5/1/2005 3:48:56 PM|
|From: left-over man|
|New cooperatives target illicit diamond trade|
Restoring the Sparkle
New cooperatives target illicit diamond trade
By JACKIE RANGE
ALLUVIAL DIAMONDS from Sierra Leone are among the world's most prized rocks, but they're often intertwined with criminal activity that the diamond industry is striving to eradicate.
Setting out to attack the illicit diamond trade and devise more humanitarian working conditions, aid organizations and investors have established Sierra Leone digger co-operatives. But cleaning up the diamond trade there presents a thorny problem for the industry: If successful, these initiatives could present branding opportunities that challenge the iconic status of diamonds. The open pricing of the gems also may challenge the current industry pricing model.
Alluvial diamonds were carried from their original sources by rivers, and are now strewn across Sierra Leone, particularly its eastern Kono region. Their disparate nature makes them inefficient for large diamond miners. So they are mostly targeted by small-scale miners, working in poverty conditions.
After more than 10 years of war, there is a fragile peace in Sierra Leone, with the United Nations reducing its presence. Alluvial-diamond miners are the second-biggest work force there, and number as many as 200,000.
Diamonds, used to fund munitions, played a part in prolonging the war, and are still smuggled. Officially, Sierra Leone exported diamonds worth $126.6 million in 2004. Estimates of the value smuggled vary widely, but climb as high as $500 million, industry sources say.
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Since alluvial diamonds can be found relatively easily and sold for cash, many aren't tracked using Kimberly Process requirements, an international scheme aiming to ensure diamonds don't fund conflicts.
Large parts of Sierra Leone's diamond industry are "monopolized by a relatively small group of people who dictate the price of rough diamonds, reap most of the economic rewards and exploit those in the production chain below them," says Global Witness, a nongovernmental organization specializing in natural resources.
But tiny grass-roots projects are springing up. Aiming to break the poverty cycle, they also plan to follow each diamond from discovery to sale, ensuring Kimberly Process compliance. The projects are overseen by a wider USAID-administered project, aiming to strengthen the sector.
Now the miners are piling up gravel from old riverbeds. Soon they will wash and sift it for bounty. Before the diamonds leave Sierra Leone for sale, several parties will value them -- a particularly vulnerable part of the process. Some argue it's highly subjective.
Martin Rapaport, whose eponymous company has a number of diamond-related businesses, has provided seed capital for four of the projects. He'll return all but 7% to 10% of the sale proceeds to the miners, and recoup his original capital.
Global Witness will observe the projects' mine-to-sale chain. The model, if effective, could be used in other countries rich in alluvial diamonds, such as Liberia.
DJ-AIG Commodity Indexes
DJ-AIG Indexes 4/29 4/22 YTD
Commodity Futures 152.294 157.681 5%
Total Return 267.441 276.747 6%
Energy 331.515 363.675 10%
Petroleum 379.174 415.454 14%
Livestock 76.557 75.951 -2%
Grains 48.442 48.947 4%
Industrial Metals 102.871 104.409 -1%
Precious Metals 76.646 77.667 -1%
Softs 78.666 76.447 8%
Dow Jones/AIG International
But making the co-operatives work won't be simple. Diamond-industry consultant Chaim Even-Zohar argues that without governmental will and legislative support, these projects stand to fail. Plus, diamond dealers in Sierra Leone would lose from this model and have an interest in its failure, industry sources say.
These projects aim to harness branding, a growing trend in diamonds, capitalizing on their origin. Rapaport argues that value for a consumer is intertwined with symbolism. "You show that diamond to your girlfriend and she says, 'How many people have died for that diamond,' the whole value of the diamond goes down the toilet," he says.
Key Commodity Indexes
CRB Group Indexes 4/29 Prev. Wk Yr. Ago
CRB Futures 303.74 307.29 270.81
Industrials 264.97 260.78 244.25
Grain/Oils 191.19 189.87 265.41
Livestock 299.75 295.72 282.83
Energy 531.95 578.46 395.35
Precious Metals 398.53 406.23 347.73
World No.1 miner BHP Billiton's sales of CanadaMark-branded diamonds -- Canadian origin guaranteed -- are growing rapidly. Both Rapaport and Joseph J. James, managing member of Kono's Hope, another co-operative backer, have an eye for branding opportunities.
Rapaport will link the brand to development. "De Beers has a brand that says, 'A diamond is forever,"' he says, but "development diamonds are better because they have a brand which says 'this diamond makes the world a better place."'
James will target African-Americans, 75% of his investors. Their ancestors may be from Sierra Leone, brought to America in slavery. Applying for the "Kono's Hope," trademark, he says, "This is not just a business deal, this is a passion of the heart and connection back to our blood kin."
Beyond branding, making diggers aware of diamonds' value will help change the grass-roots balance of trade, Rapaport says. But this step is "way too tiny" to have a major impact on the $60 billion-a-year diamond-jewelry industry.
Transparency is coming to the diamond industry, however, and could ultimately lead to price declines, says Even-Zohar. But De Beers, selling 48% of world-diamond production by value, sees no reason to change its pricing method.
JACKIE RANGE is a reporter for Dow Jones Newswires in London.
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|To: left-over man who wrote (3943)||5/2/2005 3:14:27 AM|
|my favorites are: £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££, not the$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. However, i don' mind naira or tenghe if you like, in very large quantities.|
Now you tell me you don't like money? that it feels you dirty? gg then how do you pay for the hookers that keep you company, with smile?
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|To: Yaacov who wrote (3937)||5/2/2005 6:08:49 AM|
|From: GUSTAVE JAEGER|
|Re: why is it we can't talk about Khazars, Plovosians, Kumans, Bulgars of Volga? your too boring.|
How about sorting out Mgr Ratzinger's many reasons to choose "Benedict" as his papal title? Clue:
San Benedetto il Moro
Nacque nel 1526 a San Fratello (Messina) da Diana Larcari e Cristoforo Manassari, cristiani, discendenti da schiavi negri portati dall'Africa.
Adolescente, Benedetto custodì il gregge del suo padrone e fin da allora per le sue virtù fu chiamato il "santo moro".
A ventun anno entrò nella comunità degli eremiti fondata nei pressi del suo paese natale da Girolamo Lanza, che viveva sotto la regola di s. Francesco.
Quando g]i eremiti si trasferirono sul Monte Pellegrino per vivere in maggior solitudine, Benedetto li seguì e, alla morte del Lanza, fu dai confratelli eletto superiore.
Nel 1562 Pio IV ritirò l'approvazione che Giulio II aveva dato a quell'istituto e invitò i religiosi ad entrare in un Ordine di loro scelta.
Benedetto si aggregò ai Frati Minori, entrando nel convento di S. Maria di Gesù a Palermo, fondato dal beato Matteo di Agrigento.
In un primo tempo fu mandato nel convento di S. Anna di Giuliana, dove rimase tre anni, ma poi venne richiamato a Palermo, dove visse ventiquattro anni.
Esercitò all'inizio l'umile ufficio di cuoco con tanto spirito di sacrificio e di soprannaturale carità che gli si attribuirono anche dei miracoli.
Fu tanto stimato che nel 1578 egli, semplice laico, fu nominato superiore del convento e guidò per tre anni la sua comunità con saggezza, prudenza e grande carità.
In occasione del capitolo provinciale si recò ad Agrigento dove, per la sua fama di santità rapidamente diffusasi, fu accolto con calorose manifestazioni di popolo.
Nominato, in seguito, maestro dei novizi, attese al suo ufficio in modo da far ritenere che avesse il dono della scrutazione dei cuori; infine tornò alla primitiva mansione di cuoco.
Un gran numero di devoti andava da lui per consultarlo, fra i quali anche sacerdoti e teologi e perfino il viceré di Sicilia; egli, sempre umile e devoto, raddoppiava le penitenze, digiunando e flagellandosi a sangue. I processi della sua canonizzazione riferiscono numerose guarigioni da lui operate. Morì il 4 aprile 1589.
Il suo culto si diffuse dalla Sicilia in tutta Italia, in Spagna, nel resto dell'Europa e anche diffuse dalla Sicilia in tutta Italia, in Spagna, nel resto dell'Europa e anche nelI'America del Sud, dove divenne il protettore delle popolazioni negre.
Il senato di Palermo nel 1713 lo scelse come patrono della città.
Benedetto XIV lo beatificò nel 1743 e Pio VII lo canonizzò il 24 maggio 1807. La sua festa si celebra il 4 aprile.
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|To: Yaacov who wrote (3950)||5/2/2005 3:00:36 PM|
|From: left-over man|
|Friend of yours?|
When a Jew goes bad, (and becomes a Zionist), the revealing words fall from his mouth
Jack Abramoff, Zionist:
"Nearly as shocking as the sums was the coarseness of the e-mail messages, especially given that Abramoff was a devout Orthodox Jew who presented himself publicly as a man of conservative values. About one tribal client Abramoff had written to Scanlon, ''These mofos are the stupidest idiots in the land for sure.'' In another e-mail message he wrote, ''we need to get some $ from those monkeys!!!!"
"Abramoff also seems to see himself as an innocent victim. ''Of course, I have made mistakes,'' he told me. Yet it's not quite clear what he thinks those mistakes are. Abramoff insisted that his hunger for riches was driven by charitable impulses. ''I have spent years giving away virtually everything I made,'' he said. ''Frankly, I didn't need to have a kosher delicatessen. That was money I could have bought a yacht with. I don't live an extravagant lifestyle. I felt that the resources coming into my hands were the consequence of God putting them there.'' And he has a ready explanation for much of his behavior. When asked, for instance, how a religious man who reportedly loathed Hollywood profanity could send e-mail messages playfully calling Scanlon a ''big time faggot'' or declaring, apropos one intransigent tribal client, ''We need a beautiful girl to send up there,'' Abramoff suggested that he dumbed down his words to motivate Scanlon. ''I didn't have a lot of time to articulate things,'' he said. ''Sometimes I would find myself speaking to people in the language that they speak.'' He likened himself to the Biblical character Jacob, who dressed in his brother Esau's clothes. Jacob did this, Abramoff told me, as ''a more effective means of communicating with Esau.'' (In fact, Jacob's goal is to deceive his father.)"
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